Top tips for finding the right pre-reg placement for youFinding a pre-reg placement is becoming increasingly difficult; not only is it essential to becoming a fully qualified pharmacist, but finding the right placement is crucial to your future career.
Don't be tempted to accept your first offer just to secure a placement, or put undue importance on getting the best paid opportunity. Getting the right placement to support your aspirations is far more important.
Remember, the process is two way. You will need to sell yourself to the pharmacy and, in turn, they will need to sell themselves to you!
Think about the following before you apply for a placement:
- Try to get some work experience, even if it is unpaid. This will show that you are committed and proactive about your career and it will help you to ‘hit the ground running’ when you start your placement.
- Look and apply early so you have more placements to choose from. It will demonstrate that you are thinking ahead and you will also be applying to those tutors who are doing the same. If you are applying late, be prepared to explain why.
- Consider what factors are the most important considerations when
choosing your placement. Which are essential and which are you prepared
to be more flexible about, for example, location or pharmacy type. Also,
what else do you want to get out of your pre-reg year?
- What services would you like to see in action?
- What particular interests do you have or would like to be involved in - which placement might be best placed to support this?
- What other activities would you like to undertake?
- Is there an opportunity to expand your knowledge by working with or shadowing others in related or associated roles, e.g. addiction teams, vets, dentists or cancer nurses?
- Are there any particular skills that you have that you would like to utilise, for example, speaking other languages?
- What extra activities or responsibilities have you undertaken and what does this say about you? These are your unique selling points.
- What was your university attendance record? When in placement, timekeeping and reliability is essential.
Here are some suggested questions to ask your potential tutor during interview:
- What is it that attracted you to having a pre reg trainee?
- Why do you believe I should choose your pharmacy over and above others?
- What additional activities can you or your pharmacy team expose me to? (For example, LPCs, training evenings, services etc.)
- Will I be enrolled on a pre-reg support programme?
- If so, which one?
- How is it funded?
- What about travel expenses?
- Is it classed as working time or a day off?
- Will I receive any dedicated study time? How is it managed?
- Has your pharmacy had a GPhC inspection yet? How did you get on?
- Is the pharmacy intending to employ the pre-reg at the end of the year?
Consider the following when you attend your interview:
- Did you feel a rapport with the potential tutor and any team members that you met; can you imagine yourself working alongside the team?
- Did you view the tutor as a role model pharmacist you would respect and work well with?
- What was the pharmacy environment like? What did it tell you about the ethos of the business and do you feel it is an environment that would suit you?
- What do you know about the tutor?
- What skills and experience do they have?
- How many pre-reg trainees have they had before? Remember, the number of previous pre-reg trainees a tutor has had doesn't necessarily indicate competence - a tutor may be very experienced but equally new tutors are often especially diligent. Numark's pre-reg ‘Tutors of the Year’ have been a mix of first time and long serving tutors.
- What do they believe makes a good placement and a good trainee?
- Consider offering to go into the pharmacy for a day so you can experience what it would be like to work within the environment. This will also give you the opportunity to demonstrate why you are the best candidate.
Ask plenty of questions in the interview and ensure you are happy with the choice of pre-reg programme the tutor is considering. Imagine yourself working in the pharmacy and working with the other staff, but importantly, make sure the tutor is someone that you feel you can learn from as they will be responsible for shaping the pharmacist you become.
Good luck with your search and we hope to see you on the next Numark pre-reg programme.
Find out more about our pre-reg programme